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Super Bowl commercials 2010

The big commercials on yesterday's Super Bowl seemed a bit smaller than those in years past.  Perhaps the problem is that we tend to use as our benchmark the waste-money-at-all-costs commercials of the days when you didn't have to say anything, just have a chimp clanging a symbol or punch somebody in the nuts to get a laugh.

So while the spots seemed a bit smaller in scale, many seemed to nail a new model:  humor that reinforces a big brand message without getting in the way of it.  

Some exemplars included Snickers ("Betty White"), Bud Light ("Lost", "T-Pain"), Coke ("Simpsons") and, as usual, Monster ("Fiddlin' Beaver").  

Super Bowl ads need to draw a laugh in a room full of noisy, well-lubricated fans.  Talking animals, guy-humor, and, yes, people getting punched in the nuts, are all part of the formula.  But using this huge stage to land a big message must be part of the formula as well, particularly in an increasingly results oriented climate.

Two other consistent themes yesterday:  seemingly guys have been neutered beyond belief and several brands that start with the letter "D" (dudes?) are here to help men be men again (Dodge, Dove, Dockers); Danica Patrick must move on and leave GoDaddy in her dust – she's better than them.  I think.

And, finally, one observation:  As more and more marketing budgets get redirected to digital and search marketing, it was ironic to see Google running a Super Bowl spot.